The Taj Mahal is one of those places that I have been aware of for as long as I can remember and I have always dreamed of visiting. When Chris started traveling to India frequently for work, I had a secret fear that he would visit the Taj Mahal without me and that it would suddenly be demoted to the bottom of our joint list of vacation plans. Lucky for me, Chris never made it there without me and we finally set things in motion to go.
We set out from Delhi before dawn on a trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. The driver told us that it would take about five hours for us to get there, but in reality we made it to Agra in just over three hours.
After buying tickets and transferring the last kilometer to the Taj by bicycle rickshaw, we passed through a short line at the security check and were on our way to see one of the Wonders of the World. Amazingly, it was fairly uncrowded considering where we were. We were able to make it through the entire complex in about ninety minutes.
Our first mission was to make an attempt at getting that classic photograph with the Taj in the background. Chris quickly spotted a British couple who had a camera similar to ours. “I’ll take your picture if you take ours.”
Done. Excellent choice. As soon as I saw the man focusing the camera on us before shifting it to capture the whole scene, I felt like we might get at least one decent shot. Hopefully that couple is as happy with Chris’ photography.
Next, we headed to the shoe drop, which in retrospect I am kind of bummed about. I hate walking places barefoot. In and around my own home, sure. Public places barefoot creep me out though. Almost immediately after giving up my shoes I noticed that all of the smart tourists were wearing clean room booties over their shoes. How did I miss that memo?
Finally we were close enough to the Taj Mahal to really see the detail. Almost every surface was embellished with some kind of flourish whether it was intricate stone inlays, delicate carvings, or cut patterns reminiscent of Waterford crystal. I am always awestruck when I see such old and massive structures built with this degree of attention to detail, especially considering the tools that were available at the time.
Just as I had always imagined it, the Taj Mahal looked almost like a giant size version of a beautifully made jewelry box. I am so thankful that I finally had the opportunity to see it as it has been on my life ‘to-do’ list for a long time.